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May 26, 2009

A Simple Guide For Achieving Top Rankings in the Search Engines – Even if You Are a Complete Newbie

The proper term for the process is known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a combination of two major components. First, you must learn how to tweak your web pages so that the search bots find your content to be search engine friendly. Once you have set up a search friendly site, the next component is to build back links. But before diving straight into SEO, you must first know which keywords to target.

Choosing Your Target Keyword Phrase.

Many new Internet Marketers make the mistake of choosing the wrong keywords to target. So what makes a keyword inappropriate?

Your ideal keyword phrase should be around three to four keywords. – If you are targeting a word like “music”, you may find that you may not be able to rank for anything. That is because the keyword itself is too general. Whether you are looking for someone to sign up as a member, download a song, or buy something from you, you want to be sure that you are matching the right offer to the right audience. In other words, you are looking for targeted traffic. So instead of choosing a keyword like “music”, a keyword phrase like “local music bands” would be a much better choice.

Use a keyword research tool to make sure that the keyword will bring you traffic. – If you are targeting an obscure keyword that nobody ever uses, you may just be wasting your time and resources. Google offers a free keyword tool that will give you a good idea on which keyword phrase to choose. The tool reveals estimated search traffic, as well as the level of competition.

But don’t be over-reliant on keyword tools to help you find keywords. As a business owner, you should be very familiar with the market. Know who your target customers are. That will help you find and locate valuable keywords that no one else would’ve thought of.

Choose keywords with a fair amount of competition. – Some marketers believe strongly that keywords with little competition are easier to rank. Therefore, it makes sense to target those keywords. But if you are setting up an online business, you want to be in an active market. In other words, the best keywords are those with a fair amount of competition, but are not overly saturated. A fair amount of competition is a good indicator of the value of a keyword phrase. You stand a much greater chance of success if you target those keywords.

Setting Up a Search Engine Friendly Website.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a geek to learn how to tweak your sites. Most content management systems are SEO friendly, and the best part is, most of them are free. The popular ones include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and DotNetNuke. Your web pages will be search friendly when they are hosted on these systems. But if you really want to learn the basics, make sure that you implement the following.

If you are tweaking your site manually, there are two important things that you must implement. First, always make sure that your target keyword phrases are included in the title tags. Use them in your META keyword and description tags as well. Next, use a search engine friendly file name such as “your-keyword-phrase.html”. You can easily rename your html files using any text editor.

Manual tweaks can be implemented easily if you have a small site. But if you are thinking of growing the website into a huge site, you should consider using a content management system (CMS). If you are using a CMS, be careful not to overload the site by installing too many unnecessary plug-ins. Remember that your primary goal is to make it easy for the search bots to find your web pages, and to determine the overall theme of the content. By installing too many unnecessary bells and whistles, you are making it more difficult for the search bots to do their job. For that reason, you often find that hassle free templates tend to work better than fanciful ones. Don’t overcomplicate things. The golden principle here is to keep things simple.

When you are satisfied with the design and content, it’s now time to let the world know about your site.

Link Building with Articles.

There are many ways you can build back links to your site. You can post entries on blogs, submit links to Web 2.0 properties, submit URLs to a bunch of web directories, or write and distribute press releases and/or articles. You can use a combination of these methods if you have the time and resources, or you can keep your focus on just one – such as article marketing.

Article marketing is one of the easiest methods to get well established websites to link to you. These are authority sites that have been around for years, and you can get hundreds (maybe even thousands) of one way back links from these sites. One way back links means links that point to your sites, but you don’t need to reciprocate and link back to the external sites.

Every article you write allows you to include two to three simple text links at the bottom of the article. Here is when things get interesting.

In the “eyes” of the search engines, every link from an external site to your website is counted as a vote. In other words, the more back links you have pointing to your site, the better your site will rank. Of course, these can’t be any back links. They have to be links from authority sites and relevant web pages.

Now you already know that there are literally hundreds of article directories on the Internet that are recognized as authority sites by the search engines. All you have to do is to create relevant content, put your links at the end of the articles, and submit them to the article directories. When they are approved, your articles get published online, and you get a bunch of high quality links pointing to your site.

What you really need to know here is that you must be careful about what you include as the anchor texts for your links. Anchor texts are words that you place within the HTML link tags. For instance, instead of having your links as “Click here”, make sure that you create links that say, “Your Keyword Phrase”.

This is how the search engines determine the theme and relevancy of the content on your website. The assumption here is that if there are a thousand links from external sites “saying” that your site is about “green aliens”, then perhaps your site is really about “green aliens”.

Write on topic, and include your target keywords as anchor texts. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What to Expect After Your Articles Have Been Published.

If you website is brand new, don’t expect to see miracles overnight. It can take anywhere from four to six weeks for a new website to pick up speed. If you have done everything right (choose the right keywords, optimize your site, and pick the right anchor texts), then your site will appear in the search index in about three weeks. Initially, it will appear in page 5 or 6 in the search results. That is a very good sign.

In another two week’s time, your website will move up to page 3 or 4. Don’t rest on your laurels and stop writing and distributing articles. Keep up with your link building campaigns. If you have chosen the right keywords, you should be able to rank in about 6 weeks. For highly competitive keywords, it may take longer.

Your goal is to at least get your site to rank on page 1 on the major search engines. Once it emerges on page 1 of the search results, you will be receiving a steady stream of highly targeted traffic from the search engines. Do your part by serving your visitors well by publishing valuable content or offering killer products. You will soon be enjoying the handsome rewards.

About the author:

Darren Chow is a full time article marketer. He founded a successful article submission service, and has been offering high quality article writing and submission services to hundreds of Internet Marketers worldwide.